AP-1 regulates cyclin D1 and c-MYC transcription in an AKT-dependent manner in response to mTOR inhibition: role of AIP4/Itch-mediated JUNB degradation

Mol Cancer Res. 2011 Jan;9(1):115-30. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-10-0105. Epub 2010 Dec 6.


One mechanism by which AKT kinase-dependent hypersensitivity to mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors is controlled is by the differential expression of cyclin D1 and c-MYC. Regulation of posttranscriptional processes has been demonstrated to be crucial in governing expression of these determinants in response to rapamycin. Our previous data suggested that cyclin D1 and c-MYC expression might additionally be coordinately regulated in an AKT-dependent manner at the level of transcription. Under conditions of relatively quiescent AKT activity, treatment of cells with rapamycin resulted in upregulation of cyclin D1 and c-MYC nascent transcription, whereas in cells containing active AKT, exposure repressed transcription. Promoter analysis identified AKT-dependent rapamycin responsive elements containing AP-1 transactivation sites. Phosphorylated c-JUN binding to these promoters correlated with activation of transcription whereas JUNB occupancy was associated with promoter repression. Forced overexpression of JunB or a conditionally active JunB-ER allele repressed cyclin D1 and c-MYC promoter activity in quiescent AKT-containing cells following rapamycin exposure. AIP4/Itch-dependent JUNB protein degradation was found to be markedly reduced in active AKT-containing cells compared with cells harboring quiescent AKT. Moreover, silencing AIP4/Itch expression or inhibiting JNK mediated AIP4 activity abrogated the rapamycin-induced effects on cyclin D1 and c-MYC promoter activities. Our findings support a role for the AKT-dependent regulation of AIP4/Itch activity in mediating the differential cyclin D1 and c-MYC transcriptional responses to rapamycin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclin D1 / genetics*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Genetic
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • MYC protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Cyclin D1
  • ITCH protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Sirolimus